Here’s the most exciting thing about Macon: Steak ‘n Shake. It was the first place we ever went to one. We have stayed there, at the La Quinta, several times, because it’s just about a day from Tampa the way we drive. And while it’s not all that far from Chattanooga, because you have to go around Atlanta, it can be quite time-consuming, which is why we only ever drive around Atlanta on a weekend. We never actually drive into it; it’s a city, and we don’t like cities. I do like Chattanooga a lot, as far as cities go. If I had to live IN a city, that would be it, but I would prefer rural Tennessee. I also like the Black Hills a lot. Living near Cedar Rapids would be great, except the cold would kill Joyce and the cottonwoods would kill me. Another great thing about heading south from Illinois was we ran out of cottonwoods, thank God! We were both on huge doses of antihistamines because of them.
First we had to drive to the kennel, and then around Atlanta, which Joyce dreads even under ideal conditions. So I decided I was well enough to drive and just before Atlanta’s ring road, we switched, and I took us all the way down to Macon after that, which was good, because Joyce can never remember there’s a way to avoid downtown Macon, too.
At the kennel, the dogs were beside themselves, and the little ones seemed to have lost weight overnight. A bit of a trauma for them, although we have left them with Dora as long as three weeks and they never seem to mind that. But once we got them, they recovered and probably slept all the way to Macon except to pee. They eat and drink remarkably little while driving, and we have to wet their muzzles to get any water into them at all.
Did I mention it was hot? Hot as hell? Joyce had seen the weather and discovered a high over Georgia that was just trapping incredible heat there, so hot we had to carry the dogs to grass rather than let them walk on hot pavement. Little ones, especially, can get heatstroke very quickly. It was cooler in Miami and South Carolina than it was in Georgia. And it had been raining, and made not the slightest improvement; probably made it even worse.
So we were ready for a swim by the time we arrived, and thank God, this La Quinta has an indoor pool which is NOT hot. And a spa that is. We stayed in that pool about two hours, I think, while we did more laundry. Joyce doesn’t like to come home with a lot of dirty laundry. Some fetish of hers, but I agree with her. It just irks us.
And of course we went to Steak ‘n Shake for dinner, after which we completed our nightly ritual for when we travel with perishables in a cooler. We had to start this when we left Wisconsin, and we picked up again when we left the Big Crappie. The ritual goes like this: Drive to a place that sells ice. Joyce goes in to buy ice, while Liz moves everything from behind the front seats to allow the cooler to slide out. Drain valve is already toward door. Perch cooler over step and release plug. Cooler drains, or as one passing drunk put it, “takes a leak.” Feet get sprayed with cold water, very nice on a hot day. Joyce returns with ice bag, removes all insulating items from cooler and slams new bag in. Cooler is plugged, shoved back in, and has auxiliary baggage piled on top to hold it closed. Repeat every evening until arriving home.
And that’s how you get the refrigerated groceries home safely.